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We have fought for years to be looked at as equals with men. Serious progress has been made in many countries. In America women even make up 70% of public relations professionals. But there are still many other prejudices besides just jobs and education that need to be acknowledged. I recently went to see Sex and the City 2. The movie put a twist to some issues women deal with around the world.

The girls in the movie have portrayed characters for years on the show and the movies that deal with different female problems. In the new movie there is an undertone of an old problem that still exists. Women constantly have to fight to be heard. Miranda in the movie learns to get a job where her male boss will accept her ideas. Carrie has to understand that her open ideas about marriage may not be accepted by all critics. Many people still believe the woman is supposed to be that perfect cookie cutter house wife. All of the girls travel to Abu Dhabi in the movie. In Abu Dhabi women have to stick to strict cultural rules. Women cannot show their legs, arms, or even faces. While the girls vacation there they are confronted with a culture that makes America’s prejudices look like a walk in the park. Samantha is even arrested for indecent behavior. Yes this is just a movie, but it has a message that everyone needs to hear.

There are many advantages to starting out in a PR firm such as the fact that only a few people need to work in a firm. Someone can easily start their own firm with just a few employers and not worry about dealing with a boss or even having to start at the bottom of the totem pole in a business. By 2010 public relations firms are also expected to grow so there will be more options for someone just starting in the field. Public Relations firms also often get to work with many different clients which can give a new practitioner a variety of options. (Check out a PR firm’s client coverage as an example).

In a public relations department there are higher levels of management that can benefit a new practitioner. Salaries often tend to be higher working in departments rather than firms. Departments also allow you to get closer to the client. In a department you are working within the organization that you are representing. A good example of this can be found in my interview with Joanna Stotter who works for a marketing department in North Fulton Hospital.

With the advantages of both I believe that a practitioner would benefit  most from a PR department or firm depending on the practitioner’s needs. If the new practitioner wants more clients then a PR firm is better. If a new PR practitioner has experience in a specific area that will help to get the job and wants to work with one organization the practitioner should work for a PR department.

Public relations departments in organizations can be a little confusing because they go by many names. Large corporations or fortune 500 companies call these departments corporate communications or communications. These departments divide into specialized departments that have a coordinator or manager.

Titles & Roles of positions:

  • Line: delegates authority or sets production by directly influencing work of others
  • Staff: Little to no direct authority. Uses suggestions, advice, and recommendations to indirectly affect the work of others.
  • Top management: formulates policies

For expertise and resources that an organization does no already have the organization relies on outsourcing. Public relations organizations outsource for other companies, but it is even more popular for other organizations to outsource to public relations companies.

One of the most basic principles of ethics and professionalism is the same thing that most moms have been preaching for years. The Golden Rule “love your neighbor as yourself” in other words “treat others as you would like to be treated.” This simple concept is the back bone of many companies policies.

Many organizations have codes of ethics. These codes are mainly used for education. Especially in communications fields, employees need to understand how to express themselves to clients and other co-workers. The IBAC’s code states that the organization “fosters compliance with its code by engaging in global communication  campaigns rather than through negative sanctions.” The organization also gives its members sessions on ethics at the annual meetings. The codes need to be constantly reinforced and taught over an over so that companies never forget the basics.

The internet creates a whole new world for communicating through public relations. The internet also creates a whole new set of guidelines to uphold to. The Arthur W. Page society created the following:

  • Disclose any affiliation in chatroom posting
  • Offer opportunities for dialogue and interaction with experts
  • Reveal the background of experts, disclosing any potential conflicts of interest or anonymous economic support of content
  • Practice principal leadership in the digital world, adhering to the highest standards

One common misconception about public relations found on tv is that it is perfectly acceptable for public relations professionals to receive gifts. In reality gifts are highly inappropriate. Gifts can make things to complicated in a professional setting.

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June 2010

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